Ruff Times

LaCava's Mobile Veterinary Service Blog
Halloween Pet Dangers
Published by Dr. Cassandra LaCava in Halloween Pet Dangers • 10/20/2013 1:48:33 PM

Hello Friends!! It's Halloween time!! Along with all the costumes, candy and fun comes danger for you and your pets. Here are some of the most common dangers that you may or may not be aware of.

There will be lots of candy in your home this month, and chocolate is one of the most toxic to pets. Over the past year, more than 1,100 calls to Pet Poison Helpline involved exposure to chocolate and 98 percent of them involved dogs. Many dogs are inherently attracted to the smell and taste of chocolate, making it a significant threat. In general, the darker and more bitter the chocolate, the more poisonous it is. To avoid issues, keep Halloween candy well out of the reach of pets at all times. If you think your pet may have ingested chocolate, symptoms to watch for include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, agitation, increased thirst, an elevated heart rate, and in severe cases, seizures.

When it comes to eating tasty treats, dogs can't say no! They can gorge themselves on snacks and food meant for humans. Large ingestions of sugary, high-fat candy can lead to pancreatitis in pets. Potentially fatal, pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas and very painful. It may not show up for two to four days after the pet ingests the candy. Symptoms include decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, abdominal pain, and potentially, kidney failure or organ damage.
Let's not forget xylitol!! It's in sugar free candy, so even a sugar free alternative is not safe!!
The wrappers can also be a hazard, since dogs do not normally take the time to remove wrappers, when eating candy. Pets can easily choke on the wrappers or they can cause a foreign body obstruction is successfully ingested. Watch for vomiting, decreased appetite, not defecating, straining to defecate, or lethargy. X-rays may be necessary to diagnose this problem.
Please keep all candy out of reach to pets at all times, and tell your kids not to share their treats!

Good for you for giving out healthy snacks! However, these are poisonous to pets, so please treat them the same as chocolate. Keep them sealed and away from pets at all times!! They can cause, what we call, idiosyncratic reactions, which means that any amount of raisins can be poisonous. This means if your dog ate one raisin or a box, it can poison them! Therefore, any ingestion of raisins (or grapes) should be treated as a “poisoning” case. Symptoms include vomiting, nausea, decreased appetite, lethargy, abdominal pain, and severe kidney failure.

Glow Sticks and Glow Jewelry
Pets (especially cats) love to nibble on glow sticks and glow jewelry! The liquid inside is not usually life-threatening, but it can cause pain and irritation in the mouth, as well as profuse drooling and foaming/pawing at the mouth.

Candles create a great looking jack-o-lantern or creepy atmosphere that's perfect for Halloween, but can also be dangerous to pets. Your dogs wagging tail or a pet's curious nose can come in contact with a candle, and they don't know it's hot until they get burned. Please keep candles out of their reach.

Dressing up your pet for Halloween is adorable and fun!! Please be careful and make sure whatever you choose does not impair your dogs vision or cause any discomfort while wearing. Also watch for buttons, sequins, zippers, and other metallic objects on the costume that may be ingested by your pet. Please do not dye your dogs hair for Halloween. Even hair color that is harmless to people, can be harmful to pets, especially since animals love to groom themselves and no hair dye is meant to be ingested!

Keeping your pet inside
There are many people coming to your door Halloween night, and the doors are being opened and closed constantly. Keep your pets in a closed room, where there is no chance of escape. If you want to show off your pets costume, please have them on a leash to ensure no escape. Please be aware that people in costumes may scare your pet, so read your pets reaction, and put your pet in a safe place in the house if they don't seem to enjoy the costume parade.

Black Pets
There are no statistics to support the claim that black cats are stolen and used for Satanic rituals during the month of October, but why risk it? Please keep your pets inside (no matter the color) the days surrounding Halloween. It's better to be safe than sorry!! If any acts of animal cruelty are seen or suspected, please call your local shelter or animal authorities.

With a little caution and some common sense, Halloween can be a fun time for kids and pets alike.
Wishing a happy and safe Halloween to everyone.